The AKID booth at Playtime New York stopped me in my tracks. The repetitive black and white graphics of the AKID logo, mirrored pedestals and vast collection of children’s footwear made quite the impression on me. The AKID brand offers low tops, high tops, loafers, moccasins (with an athletic sole!) and all in the most incredible patterns and materials. The lovely Ashleigh Dempster tells us what motivated her and her husband, Matt George, to launch the brand. She lets us in on what inspires the designs found in their collections and tells us which designs our little babiekins need to have.
Tell us how your son, Jasper, was the catalyst for starting AKID.
It wasn’t until Jasper started walking that we noticed the gap in the marketplace for functional yet stylish children’s footwear. I was always on the hunt for shoes that were sparkle free and surprisingly the selection was limited. With Matt’s experience in the footwear industry and my love for shoes, it was just a matter of time before we collaborated on a collection together.
You and Matt are so knowledgeable of and connected to the adult fashion industry; how is the children’s market similar or different?
My background is in corporate sponsorship/events. I have worked with fashion brands on the marketing side but I am totally new to the design game. That being said, I love good style and design when I see it! Matt, on the other hand, has a decade of experience in the men’s fashion and footwear industry. His knowledge is invaluable in the early stages of the business.
Kids look amazing in everything, so I feel like you can be much more playful in the textures, colors and styles that you produce.
What is your design process like? AKID uses so many different patterns and textures. How do you edit your ideas and create such cohesive collections that successfully feature these patterns and textures?
The design process is ongoing. We’re constantly pulling ideas for collections, sampling new styles, etc. Because AKID is so young, it’s important for us to try out different colors, patterns and textures to see what our customers respond to. I love being in LA because I am constantly surrounded by creative people that impress and inspire me on a daily basis. For example, I went to a tarot card reading this week with a woman who does her readings out of a teepee in Lauren Canyon. I wish I had a photo of her space to share with you as it was so zen and beautiful. The most unexpected place will often spark an idea for our next photo shoot, collection or collaboration.
How has parenthood affected your personal styles?
Not much has changed for Matt. For me, I wear flats a little more than I used to (CONVERSE has become my best friend). I’m not sure if that is directly connected to becoming a mother or moving to LA. Both happened at the same time. Other than that, I’m still rocking the same old stuff I usually would!
Tell us about AKID’s F/W 2014 collection. Which are your favorite styles and why do our little babiekins need them?
All the adorable babiekins definitely need a pair of AKID! I tend to gravitate to the funkier styles. The leopard ATTICUS in red pony hair and the white JASPER’s black stars are two of my favorites from this season’s collection.